How is Best to Work From Home as a Virtual Assistant?

If you’ve had enough of the monotonous 9-5, working from home is a new avenue to explore. One of the easiest ways to do this is being a virtual assistant (VA). A VA is home-based yet highly skilled. These professionals provide small businesses, companies and entrepreneurs the support they need yet don’t have time for.

How to Work From Home as a Virtual Assistant

This role has a large number of potential tasks under its umbrella. The services a VA offers are endless. What you can offer as a VA will depend on your professional background and skills.

Here are some common virtual tasks that need completing in such roles:

  • Answering the phone
  • Managing and replying to emails
  • Online research
  • Data administration
  • Managing calendars
  • Writing and amending content
  • Digital and offline marketing
  • Blog writing, proofreading and managing
  • Managing projects
  • Graphic and web design
  • Technical skills and support
  • Community and customer service
  • Planning events
  • Managing social media

As a virtual assistant it is up to you whether you work as a freelancer, an employee or as a business owner. Each option, like most things, has a range of pros and cons.

Employee.
Pros: no money invested upfront, guaranteed work and pay
Cons: work will be more restricted

Freelancer.
Pros: self-employed so command own wage and restrictions
Cons: quarterly self-employment tax

Your own business.
Pros: flexibility with clients and rates
Cons: finding clients and self-employment taxes

The latter option does often come with more benefits, such as low costs to start-up as the business model is easy. There are a couple of things you need to get you started, but after that it’s up up and away! You will need a smartphone, a computer, a printer/scanner and high speed WiFi.

If this option isn’t for you, where could you find a VA employer?

After understanding different ways you can be a VA and their associated pros and cons, you can begin to look for work accordingly.

There are a number of VA companies which are completely legitimate, mainly being independent contractors. These include: AssistPro; Boldly; Profit Factory; VaVa Virtual Assistants; Zirtual and many more. In addition, there are several staffing agencies and freelance marketplaces which also hire VAs. Some of the most popular include: Upwork; Toptal; FlexJobs; Fiverr and more.

What can you expect to earn from being a virtual assistant?

This largely depends on which of the above services you are offering in addition to which platform you’re offering them through. Clients will also take into account the length of time you have been a VA and carried out the skills you’re pitching for. The hourly page is broad, often ranging from $10 to $100.

Do I need any training to be a VA?

Whilst the skills and training needed to be a VA per say isn’t extensive it gives you a basic understanding of time management, organisation and communication skills. Also, it is crucial you are sufficiently trained in the areas you will be working in e.g. social media.

A VA qualification is always going to be beneficial when looking for that first client, as you look more credible. Sector dependent, it is also important you have a basic grasp of some software. These programs would typically include:

  • WordPress
  • Slack
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Hootsuite
  • QuickBooks
  • G Suite

By investing yourself in a free trial of each of these pieces of software you are building the foundations to be a well rounded VA. As well as free trials you could also try tutorial videos on site such as YouTube.

If it is the home-based business route you’re going down, a good first step is to educate yourself on necessary paperwork, best practices and legal aspects. Once the foundations are down, it is then you can begin to reap some benefits of having your own business.

Here are the 4 key steps to making a successful VA venture:

1. Choosing Your Niche

There is an endless amount of service areas to consider. When determining a part of the market which isn’t saturated and makes you different. Typically a VA will carry out a range of tasks similar to those listed earlier, but it’s often more profitable to specialise in 2 or 3. If you understand your passions and skills you will be able to choose a niche appropriately.

A few niches which are hot right now are:

  • Managing blogs
  • Pinterest specific VA
  • Creating and managing podcasts
  • Managing projects
  • Property assistance

2. Building Your Website

When deciding whether to be a virtual assistant, bear in mind that this is a competitive market and that a well designed, built and optimised website will be crucial to your success. This online presence gives you a central location to showcase the types of work you can do to attract more clients. It also makes you look more professional and allows other clients to endorse your work.

The process of having an effective website can be an easy one in the right hands, and relatively affordable too!

3. Marketing Your Business Venture

There are many avenues to consider when debating the question, how should I market my VA business? Here, consistency is key. Focus your efforts on 2-3 marketing channels to see the most effective results.

Not sure where to start? Here are some ways you can marketing your business which are particularly useful in the early days, to get your started:

  • Social media marketing: particularly Facebook and Instagram as rising platforms.
  • Email marketing: gain and regularly send to tyre-kicking potential clients.
  • Networking: both in a personal and professional space to maximise your time.
  • Lead generation: optimising your website and marketing tools for lead generation.
  • PR opportunities: kick starting your business with a bang!

Once your business has launched, pro-active marketing of your services is the next step to success. Following up with potential clients on a regular basis is an expert backed method that delivers results.

4. Invest in Your Business

As the revenue of your virtual assistant business grows, it is important to reinvest part of this into your own personal development. From conferences to online courses there is plenty to sink your teeth into. This is accessible for everyone in every niche and with every budget, so no excuses! This reinvestment in yourself is invaluable to success. You will be gaining the knowledge and skills to maintain and scale your business.

What have we learnt?

From this brief overview of how to work from home as a virtual assistant, it is clear that this is a great opportunity. There are legitimate roles for beginners and experts alike that fit around full-time or part-time work. Whether it’s that six-figure salary dream motivating you or packing in that 9-5 job, by taking the first step now you will make your dream a reality.